The Nou Restaurant - Altamonte Springs
It's in a grungy strip mall on 436 between Altamonte Springs and Apopka and I had the best meal I've had in a while there. It's tiny ( only 20 people max according to the sign) with a small bar/counter and a few tables and tastefully decorated in black and lime green with a few graphics on the walls, It's Venezuelan food - new to me. A little like Cuban with a lighter touch. First there was a basket of corn chips with a fresh pepper and cilantro pico de gallo. We had an order of tostones (fried green plantains) that blew me away. Instead of the thick, stodgy ones I'm used to ( and I'll admit I like) these were thin and tender and piping hot with crispy edges. They were served with a garlicky mayonnaise and a sharp thin red salsa. I had a stuffed arepa. The arepas I've had before were heavy with cheese and mildly sweet but this was a plainer corn cake split open and stuffed with shredded beef, black beans, and queso blanco. It was wrapped in paper so I could eat it as a sandwich, but there was so much filling that I knife and forked it. My husband had a grilled marinated skirt steak
with caramelized onions and rice and red beans. The meat was chewy but the marinade made it very flavorful. The people at the table next to us had grown up in Venezuela and were complimenting the waitress on the authenticity of the food, so I guess that means something. No room for dessert but I saw a flan like dish heading toward another table. The outside is a real turn off, but it is a real find.